Here are some news from our band

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Mecha Maiko – Interview

Mecha's brand new EP, Okiya, was released in January 2019, and we decided to learn more about the EP and and find out what other side projects Hayley is working [...]
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AINOMA – NECROPOLIS – Recommendation

The evolution of the AINOMA project brings its sound to a whole new level. Dark synths and retro drum-machines shift us from surrealistic wastelands into an alternate timeline; the universe of VHS madness, neon nights, cyberpunk, declining superstates and the origin of the digital era.

Russian synthwave artist AINOMA‘s debut EP NECROPOLIS is a hard hitting cinematic experience that depicts a very dark dark post apocalyptic future reality. If you’re a fan of the darker side of 80s sci-fi action movies such as Blade Runner and The Terminator then you’ll have a deep appreciation of this release from the first time you listen to it.

There’s a whole lot to love about NECROPOLIS as it offers an array of different darker styles that take you on a truly satisfying journey throughout. Sinew busting tracks like ‘We Fight For Freedom‘ would rock the dancefloor at a gritty darksynth club night, whilst the ambient and guttural ‘November, 2019‘ conjures the delicately cosmic vibes of the great Vangelis. This concept soundtrack album tells a compelling story that has you fully immersed from start to finish. It’s the chilling and morbid tale of a technological future gone bad, and it comes with our highest seal of approval.

Bandcamp Album Bio:

The shape of things to come – welcome to the capital of the corporate ultra-technological state, ruled by the upper class that reached immortality by uploading its consciousness to digital storage. Only a group of anarchists called Action Directe resist this order.

In November 2019 Action Directe ventures a riot. To suppress it the upper class sends its elite troops, the “Immortals” – upgraded soldiers with cyber implants. They cannot put the mutiny down and have to retreat. The anarchists almost seize the city, and then the commander of the “Immortals” develops a radical solution – the scorched earth policy. He decides to send an airborne troop to take over and blow up the reactor “Nuclear Heart Father”, located in the monumental pyramid building. After a successful infiltration, several anarchist units are defeated and “Immortals” activate detonator, destroying their physical shells along with 8 million citizens.

Propaganda accuses Action Directe of causing the explosion, meanwhile the “Immortals” forces enter the city and start their mop-up operation, destroying the rest of the resistance. The large advanced city is devastated and is given a new name – NECROPOLIS.

AINOMA

NECROPOLIS is the first synthwave release of AINOMA that reflects the dark side of the 1980s with its horror, sci-fi and cyberpunk universes. It references the futuristic Blade Runner soundtrack, atmospheric Brad Fiedel synths, the disturbing minimalism of John Carpenter, and other masterpieces of that era as well as modern variations of the sound (like Tron, Oblivion and Stranger things). All these inspirations emerged out of the subconscious and came to life in a short soundtrack story about the fictional retrofuturistic city of NECROPOLIS.

Released January 2, 2019.

Edited by Jonny Lazer, Steel City Collective.

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Synthapex – Gone This Night (Official Music Video Premiere)

Gone This Night‘ – The debut music video from Synthapex is one of the more adventurous visual projects in the synthwave music scene in recent years. With only a small budget, the creators integrated CGI elements into the video to yield the most spectacular visuals possible.

Synthapex

There are some references to other works of art in the ‘Gone This Night’ video, and according to Synthapex, they have a special gift for the first person who’s able to find all of these references. More information about this can be found on Synthapex’s social media channels:

Synthapex

You can read about the story behind the ‘Gone This Night’ track and music video below.

2048 A.D.
The most influential leaders of the remaining world have brought their capitals together to make what may be the most ambitious enterprise of the 21st century. Billions of dollars have been spent on creating a network that allows all of the governmental structures in the whole world to watch every step of each citizen and capture it in the form of video data. Society doesn’t mind since it’s being made under the pretext of making litigation faster and more efficient.

2084 A.D.
The network has been finished and introduced to society. It’s easy to find criminals now. As a result, crime levels begin to decrease. Also, there’s no personal space anymore. Big Brother is watching you wherever you are. You might carry on with some of your wrongdoings if you wish to, and you won’t be punished as long as you do it obediently.

2106 A.D.
The Earth is overflowing with storage of incriminating video data. Lots of buildings that were once schools, universities and hospitals now serve as storage sites as well. Four huge space stations are being built to store even more data.

2248 A.D.
Mankind is no more. All the machines created by man live their own lives through random actions provoked by lack of maintenance. The same thing is happening on the last space station of that big four – the last source of video data proving that humanity ever existed. Day by day, random videos are being played incessantly inside the space station. Right now it’s a sequence of events that happened in 2097 to Anthony Blaire. At this time, software simulating real people reached the peak of popularity. Most of humanity’s entertainment needs and desires could be satisfied with virtual simulation. Real people are no longer needed for that anymore.

Download or stream ‘Gone This Night’ via the smartURL landing page and be sure to follow Synthapex on Bandcamp.

Article edited and published by Jonny Lazer, Steel City Collective.

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L.A. Rock – Team Member Profile

Steel City Collective co-founder L.A. Rock has been a trailblazer on the northern electronic music scene for years, filling floors with his on-point blend of nu-disco, tek-funk and ‘french touch’.

More recently Rock’s mixes have matured into a more progressive, harder-edged sound, bringing the best from the Outrun/Synthwave scene whilst maintaining a crowd-pleasing groove driven sensibility. His DJ sets would be quite at home on a Paris night club dance floor or equally a dingey industrial techno night in Berlin.

Expect mixes to feature b-movie-soundtrack electro, thrash-era power chords, and a thumping techno kick that will leave you thirsty for more.

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Megahammer – Interview

Megahammer’s last LP ‘Predation 2084’ had the honour of SCC’s album of the week just after its release.

His musical style is a stylish cocktail of retro-electro, thrash metal and epic synth soundtrack. SCC reporter ISTORIK decided to find out more about the man himself, asking how he achieves his unique sound, as well as discussing his numerous other side projects.

ISTORIK: I spent quite a bit of time searching for similar interviews with Megahammer and really struggled to find much. (I did actually find one interview in Finnish, and another one for Slickster Magazine.) Anyway, let’s rock! How did the Megahammer project start?

MH: Well, I think I was at home watching Married with Children, or Hands of Steel, or maybe the first Terminator when I got the idea of maybe trying to make something 80’s sounding myself. I have been a musician since I was 13-year old, and I’ve dabbled in various genres, playing guitar. Then I heard Perturbator and Flash Arnold, and they totally blew my mind and I decided to try that kind of stuff myself. I wasn’t into electronic music that much prior to that time, and I have to say that producing Megahammer has made me more open to other electronic genres as well.

ISTORIK: So, who is Megahammer? A cyborg android sent back from the future, or a crazy stuck-in-the-80s-rocker?

MH: It’s bit of both! The music, and whatever it conveys to the listener’s mind is the most important thing. I just provide a few key points to the listeners imagination. I like that in a band. Since Megahammer is mainly instrumental, the music itself must be able to tell you the tale.

ISTORIK: Share the secret with us. How do you manage to create so much atmospheric, sleazy music which gives off the 80’s spirit? (if you know what I mean?) What kind of stuff serves as an inspiration?

MH: If you listen to W.A.S.P. and watch 80’s iconic horror movies throughout your whole life, you kind of get that sort of vibe into your blood. I usually get inspired to make a Megahammer track by watching a movie. It can be anything from a bad Flashdance rip-off to an epic scale post-apocalyptic action film. As for the actual music producing, it’s a constant learning process for me. Being a writer and a producer at the same time can sometimes be frustrating. But I wouldn’t have it any other way though.

ISTORIK: According to your Soundcloud account, your first track was released in 2014 (correct me if I’m wrong) and the first album came out the following year. What would you say your main successes are after 5 years of making music?

MH: Well, albums on vinyl, great gigs, and of course that people enjoy this music.

ISTORIK: I believe you also have a ‘dungeon-synth’ side project named Old Sorcery. It must be hard to be torn between two different music projects? Which of your projects eats up more energy, and how do you prioritise?

MH: Two different projects? HAH! If I said four side-projects, I would still be lying! In addition to Megahammer and Old Sorcery, there’s my two solo-projects and I play and write music in like 6-8 different projects. I also have many other things cooking, of which I can’t tell you anything yet. Film composing is also another thing I’d like to do more in the future, and I’m pretty sure I will, if given a chance. I am not torn apart by doing so many types of music, in fact it keeps things fresh. I usually instantly know which project a certain idea or a riff is going to go into. Creating music alone all by myself is an important thing for me, but at the same time I really love being in a band. As to which of my projects consumes most energy? I guess they all do.. Hah!

ISTORIK: I’ve seen many of your gigs at various European synthwave scenes on YouTube, including your gigs in Amsterdam, Helsinki etc. Which show was the best of your career? Who would you like to play with from the scene, if you had a choice? 

MH: There’s many gigs I enjoyed. Can’t name a single one. I opened up for Carpenter Brut in 2015 at Helsinki, we played at Berlin in the Tech Noir club… the Amsterdam gig was amazing, one of the most memorable nights ever. There have also been many gigs I enjoyed playing in my hometown, Lahti. Which artists would I want to play with from the synthwave scene? Hmm… Carpenter Brut, Fazzio, Powernerd, Irving Force, NightStop… Outside of the scene though, to play with Tangerine Dream, Goblin or Fabio Frizzi would be a dream come true.

ISTORIK: Describe your ideal 1980’s space! If you had a chance to move back to the 80’s, what would be the dream place for you?

MH: A penthouse near the sea. High security gate, bodyguards and servants. A big room for all the movies and records. The usual things, I guess!

ISTORIK: Ok, let’s do some blitz questions:
American Psycho or Miami Vice?

MH: Miami Vice.

ISTORIK: Gremlins or Zombies?

MH: That’s a hard one… Gizmo is the best though, I will have to say Gremlins.

ISTORIK: Ford Mustang or Ferrari Testarossa?

MH: Ferrari Testarossa.

ISTORIK: Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter?

MH: Street Fighter.

ISTORIK: Sarah Connor or Ellen Ripley?

MH: Another hard one. Christina Applegate? Okay, Sarah Connor.

ISTORIK: Have you ever taken a trip into Russia? Have you any desire to play a show here?

MH: We played with Loanshark there, a few weeks back actually. I would love to play there again, sure!

ISTORIK: Ok, one final question. What stuff will you be bringing to us in 2019?

MH: A new album. More gigs. The album will be the fourth full-length from Megahammer. What started as a little experiment of mine, grew up to be a one hell of a journey! I have big plans for the album, but I can’t reveal anything yet. Only a couple of songs are almost ready, but I do have a clear vision of the themes and the story.

SUPPORT MEGAHAMMER
Bandcamp
Soundcloud
Spotify
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Interviewer | ISTORIK

Respondent | Megahammer

Photographs | Various events

Edited and published by | Graham ‘Bones’ Jones and Jonny Farmer, Steel City Collective

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Dr Chrispy – Interview

Award-winning aeronautical engineer by day, electro music producer by night, Dr Chrispy (AKA Dr. Chris Boshuizen) is crafting electronica with a refreshingly vibrant and jazzy sound.

His new album ‘VHS’ is a collection of tracks inspired by multiple global locations and is an eclectic mix that takes listeners on a journey of discovery. SCC collaborator and interviewer ISTORIK decided to find out how Dr Chrispy balances work and play.  

ISTORIK: I’m so glad to be able to interview you because I’ve never talked to anyone working in the space industry. Could you describe your job to our readers?

Dr Chrispy: I was always interested in space as a child. I remember reading about the Voyager I and II spacecraft reaching Saturn, Jupiter and Neptune, and being fascinated by the idea of one day going myself. So from an early age I decided I wanted to work in the space industry. I am Australian, but Australia doesn’t have much space activity, so after finishing my education I moved to the United States and got a job at NASA designing new kinds of spacecraft. One of the coolest things I did was put an Android Nexus One smartphone into orbit around the Earth as a stand-alone satellite. This was a spacecraft that was almost like Sputnik with a camera, and it only cost $500!!

This is the first time answering questions about your music, but not about space programs right?

Yes, this is actually my first interview about my music! I’m very excited to talk with you!

So when did you decide to start producing music alongside your main job?

I have always loved music as much as space exploration, but I decided to spend the first part of my career focusing on space. I have been very fortunate, working at NASA, and started my own satellite manufacturing company, but music keeps tugging at me. Although many people think space is cool and interesting, it is music that reaches our emotions and brings us together, and I didn’t want to neglect that part of my life. So about 3 years ago I decided I would do both from now on!

How did the album writing process go? I read that overall you spent almost 15 years on track production!


Dr Chrispy aka Chris Boshuizen

During my studies, doing a doctoral thesis took a lot of my time, so I almost quit doing music; in fact, I got rid of most of my musical instruments (so sad!). However, I still had my laptop computer, so whenever I was on a plane and got bored of working, I would compose music! Fast forward 15 years, and I had written almost 400 tracks! Not all of them were good, of course, but I had some favourites, so this year I decided to get some of the earlier stuff and put it out!! I wrote the first draft of Dreaming of Home in 2003! The newest song on the album, Goodbye Shanghai, I started writing in October 2017. It was a challenge to keep all the songs sounding good together, I used some of my older synthesizer settings on it so they would make a self-consistent feel on the album.

What is your album VHS all about? Is it a musical story about your life or just purely an expression of entertainment?

I travelled a lot writing this album, and I think it reflects the taste of being in those places and times, and I wanted to share that with the listener. It was my hope to transport them to some of the places where I wrote the music, and evoke the emotions in them that I felt being there. Remember VHS tapes? When I was a kid we would sometimes watch old home movies on Super 8 tape and later on VHS tapes from handycams. In the same way, the album ‘VHS’ is a home recording of my travels that I want to share with you. I hope that people can emotionally connect to the music as they listen.

On your Bandcamp page I saw the “post-synthwave” tag. Do you think this helps categorise your music?

I think it is very easy for synthwave (and all musical genres) to become too much of a cliché – people expect it to always sound the same. I am not interested in creating music that has already been heard, but on pushing the limits. That is why I included non-traditional instruments, like trumpet and electric guitar, and some Cajon (played by my friend Swagmawe) and congas. “Gotta Getta Gatta” features trumpet, upright bass, and cajon, while “Dreaming of Home” incorporates beatboxing and two real flugelhorn parts (played by the amazing Rich Armstrong)! I think music needs to keep evolving, and I enjoyed mixing in these unusual elements. On my next album I will do even more!

Do you have some favourite musicians who inspire you? Have you any synthwave producers as friends?

I am a big fan of David Bowie, and Brian Eno, both of whom were early pioneers of electronic music, and both who enjoyed wiring the synthesizer incorrectly, producing unusual sounds. Inspired by them, I usually start a track with sound design. I create a synthesizer sound that I have never heard before and that excites me, and then the rest of the track usually comes into my head when I hear that sound.

By a strange coincidence, one of my old space friends, Robert Pecknyo, released a space-centered album the day after my album. It features many cool tracks, with a lot of synthwave and ambient influences. I would also love to collaborate with other synthwave musicians in the future!

Let’s find out a little more about you. How did you start to realise your dreams about space?

As I mentioned, Australia does very little in space. When I was growing up there was no space agency or anything really, so it was really difficult. I wanted to be a fighter pilot so I could transfer to being an astronaut, but I found out I was a little colourblind and they disqualified me!!!! After that I decided to study space science, and got to work with original data from the Voyager spacecraft. That was like a dream come true! 

Later I went to a space conference in the United States, and the American students had been to space camp at NASA when they were kids, and personally knew Astronauts. I had never met one! I was so jealous! After that I decided I wanted to be friends with these people, so I volunteered at the conference. For 5 years I organised this international conference, building my network and meeting people from all around the world. Many of the songs on this album were written in places that the conference took me, including Japan, Europe, Canada (both Toronto and Vancouver).

Because I was willing to spend so much of my time organizing these conferences, eventually I was invited to work at NASA at one of their California centers, NASA Ames Research Center. I remember it was Christmas and I said to my mother, “I am moving to the United States in 2 weeks to work at NASA.” She wasn’t sad, she was very happy to see her son begin to reach his dreams. (I have a great mum!)

Do you ever think about going to the Moon or Mars like your colleague Elon Musk?

I would love to go to space, but I think that space would be lonely without my friends. So, I decided I would dedicate my life to making space travel as easy as catching a bus. Then my friends, and everyone reading this could come too!! Wouldn’t that be great?

I don’t necessarily want to live on Mars, I just want to visit all the places in the solar system and frequently come back to Earth for the food =).

I saw your cool T-shirt with Yuri Gagarin and the slogan: “The dream became real!” That is so cool! It would be great if you could share your opinions with us: how do you see the future of American and Russian space cooperation?

On April 12 each year many of my space friends host parties all around the world as part of an international event called “Yuri’s Night”. The first person in space, Yuri Gagarin, was a Russian, and his going to space is considered a monumental achievement for all mankind, and so Yuri’s Night aims to celebrate this and spread a message of peace and hope all around the world.

In 2007-2009 we held a huge Yuri’s Night at the NASA Ames Research Facility in California, turning two aircraft hangars into sound stages, with dozens of musicians and artists performing, and famous scientists coming to do publicity. Over 10,000 people each year came to celebrate space at the intersection of space, science, music and art. I would love to do more of these events!

Right now, the US and Russians are very close collaborators, being partners in the International Space Station. Of course, the Space Station is an engineering marvel, but even more importantly, it is the biggest peace-time international collaborative project in the history of the human race. I hope that this peaceful collaboration continues until we have explored all of the solar system together.

Totally agree, it’s really inspirational stuff!
Ok, so lastly, when can we expect your next release? (Hopefully not after another 15 years!!)

I hope not!! I have so much music written and am still writing every day. I learned a lot bringing VHS to the finish line, and think I can produce my next album much more quickly. Now I just need to decide which songs to put on it!! Thank you Oleg for the great interview questions!

SUPPORT DR CHRISPY

DrChrispy.com

Bandcamp

Soundcloud

Spotify

YouTube

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Interviewer | ISTORIK

Respondent | Dr Chrispy

Photographs | Ella Sophie

Edited and published by | Graham “Bones” Jones, Steel City Collective